How to get a cat to like you: Our top 10 tips
The idea that cats are unfriendly creatures is an unfair one so, if you’ve recently introduced a new cat into your home, be assured there is no reason why the two of you shouldn’t become firm friends. However, there are some ‘rules’! Follow these and you will soon establish mutual trust and build a healthy, happy relationship.
1. Make sure your cat’s needs are met
Before you turn your attention to bonding, it’s important to make sure your cat’s basic needs are met. Are they well-fed and in good health? Are their basic resources such as their food and water, bed and litter boxes in separate, quiet undisturbed places? Do you keep their litter boxes scrupulously clean? Cats have a highly developed sense of smell so don’t miss our advice on How to stop cat litter smelling.
2. Socialise your cat when they’re young (if possible)
If you’re wondering how to get a kitten to like you, you’ll be delighted to learn that cats who are exposed to a range of people and places in a positive manner when they’re kittens, tend to grow up friendlier and more trusting of humans. They are less afraid of new objects, people or situations. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t socialise an older cat you’ve adopted from a shelter. In fact, a lot of shelters pour time, energy and expertise into positive socialisation – with excellent results.
3. Respect your cat’s space
It’s best to wait for a cat to approach you and interact, rather than you approach the cat. Give your feline friend choice and don’t force them to be petted as sometimes they will prefer some alone time. Cats appreciate having hiding spots they can escape to if they fancy some peace and quiet and it’s important that you don’t invade those spaces.
4. Aim to create a calm and predictable household
While there are no hard and fast rules, most cats like a relatively calm and predictable environment. This can be tricky to achieve if you have young children or other pets (especially excitable dogs). The trick here is to control the things you can and always make sure your feline friend has places to escape to.
5. Want to get a cat to trust you? Learn their body language
It’s helpful to learn to read your cat’s body language. Are they flicking their tail to show they’re annoyed or is it relaxed? Are they pointing their head or body towards you or rubbing their body around your legs? This might mean they’re receptive to your advances. Our fun infographic will give you more clues but really it’s a case of getting to know your furry friend’s signals and being respectful of what they are ‘telling’ you.
6. Let your cat set the pace
If you’ve recently got a cat, it’s tempting to want to lavish attention on them. After all, cats are adorable! But it’s important to be patient and let your cat set the pace. Follow your cat’s cues and back off if they hiss, swipe or just seem unhappy. Another way of looking at this is that’s it’s best to let your cat come to you. You will be sitting there minding your own business one day when you suddenly realise there is someone who wants to say hello. You can further build trust by gently throwing some delicious treats your cat’s way.
7. Pet your cat the right way
Obviously not all felines are the same but in general cats tend to like being rubbed on their cheeks, behind their ears or at the base of their tail. Many cats don’t appreciate pats but instead prefer long, gentle strokes or scratches. It’s wise to steer clear of your cat’s belly until you get to know their petting likes and dislikes.
8. Groom your cat
Cats can spend as much of 50% of their day grooming themselves and will often groom each other too. So if you’re a human who is trying to make friends with a cat, brushing them is a great idea. It’s also a good way to help reduce shedding, matted fur and hairballs. There are a wide range of different brushes and combs available so find the one that’s most suitable for your cat’s coat – and preferences. Be sure to introduce a brush slowly so not to frighten your cat. Be mindful of their body language and offer up a few treats to help nervous cats feel more at ease.
9. How can I get my cat to bond with me? Play with them!
Cats need an outlet for their natural energy and playtime and a way to express their species-specific behaviours like chasing, jumping and grabbing. Playtime is also excellent for bonding. There is a vast array of cat toys on the market, so experiment to find the ones your cat likes best. Keep playtime short and sweet and don’t force the interaction if your cat is giving you the message they’ve had enough.
10. Want to impress a cat? Use treats wisely
It’s hardly surprising that offering your cat a tasty morsel now and again will win favour. Just make sure you pick treats that are healthy, don’t overdo it and use them to reward positive interactions and desirable behaviours.